October 27, 2023
Waiting on the CRMC....Sound familiar?
Opponents of the June 13th CRMC decision to approve the Raso lease for Segar Cove are waiting for agency to officially submit and file their written Committee decision, outlining their reasoning and rationale for ignoring their own sub committee's recommendation to reject the application. Once the CRMC files that document, opponents can (and are expected to) officially file an Appeal, beginning a new chapter in the fight to keep Segar Cove farm-free.
One can only imagine the mental and logical contortions that will be necessary in the crafting of that CRMC decision document. Its authors best be limber.....Five years of public comment, meetings, testimonies, expert witnesses, thousands of pages of public record, etc., all undone, ignored, in a few surreal minutes by the whim of one or two members of the committee, who, conveniently, after their sideswiping of the process, are now no longer members of the committee. The accountability, if not the very legitimacy, of the CRMC is at stake, so yes, it may take them a while to produce that document.
When they do, we'll post the details here.
In the meantime, the CRMC continues delivering punches to the salt ponds.....
June 15, 2023
"This is a disgrace. You should be ashamed of yourselves...Ashamed!"
So said one member of the public at the conclusion of CRMC's June 13th council meeting. He was ignored. Because he wasn't authorized to speak. Because he wasn't allowed to comment. Because....Rhode Island. The council members turned their backs, packed up, and walked out, an apt coda to a meeting characterized by indifference. To the public, to the facts, and to the law.
A diminished 'full' council, beleaguered by recent controversies and hobbling along with less than full complement of members, reverted to form, ignoring public opinion and the findings of its own subcommittee, pushing through a 4-2 vote to APPROVE a 'modified' Raso plan for Segar Cove. That the agency itself paid for and produced the voted upon plan is but one quirk in a long series of quirks and irregularities associated with this application, now almost six years old.
By way of color commentary, the council's occasionally incoherent arguments and administrative palavering in support of the 'modification' seemed so obviously flawed and riddled with errors that some in the gallery of conference room A on Capitol Hill were actually laughing as Council Members argued. Weird and inexplicable events do that to some people. Decorum, mostly, contained these outbursts, but the feeling in the room was palpable -- equal parts disbelief and despair. 'How could this happen?' 'They can't be serious? 'Is this even legal?' 'Is this a joke?' If so, the joke was on us, at least for one night.
While a not entirely unexpected (see our prediction of May 23rd, below), the decision was, and is, hugely disappointing. For many, it further undermines public trust in the agency, at precisely the time when the opposite is needed, adding fuel to the argument that the CRMC has lost its bearings, gone rogue in the service of industry, and can no longer be trusted as independent stewards of the public trust and resource. At least as far as aquaculture is concerned.
"Don't give up the ship"
It is expected that the abutting objectors (whose legal counsels could be seen briefly at the end of the meeting) will appeal this decision, a process which should, at least temporarily, halt any immediate actions in Segar Cove. We hope. After that, who knows....As to how long the appeals process might take, perhaps one year? Maybe three? Or twenty five? It's anybody's guess, as evidenced by CRMC's recent epic fail with regard to the Champlain's Marina case on Block Island.
What is known, what is certain, is that savepotterpond.org will be there, however long it takes. This is not the end of our fight to preserve and protect Segar Cove. It's perhaps only the end of the beginning. Or maybe the end of the middle. It might even be the beginning of the end. But it's definitely not the end of the end. That ending has yet to be written.
We will continue to post updates and other information here, the "Latest News" section of our website, while also occasionally, when needed, emailing our supporters directly with other important developments. If you're not yet on our mailing list, now would be a good time to sign up....
June 12, 2023
Confirming here that the CRMC council will meet tomorrow, June 13, at 6:00pm, in Conference Room A, at the Administrative Building, One Capitol Hill, in Providence, for "review and action on final decision" re. the Segar Cove oyster expansion proposal.
Here's a link to the posted Agenda for meeting.
Read closely, that Agenda suggests that the public may have the chance to speak, provided they attend the meeting in person. Unfortunately, and contrary to standard english language definitions, that is NOT the case. A call to the CRMC confirms that the public will NOT have the chance to comment at the meeting. This is not wildly surprising, given the CRMC's recent, um, opaque decision making on this issue, but it is hugely unfortunate, as now many stakeholders will be unable to comment on what is essentially an entirely new proposal for Segar Cove. So much for public input.....
Whatever the outcome of the meeting (and signs are pointing in an ominous direction) know that your steadfast support for a farm-free Segar Cove has been essential in our fight to protect the public's right to enjoy and recreate (safely) on that beautiful water.
We hope to see you there, in person or via Zoom (link HERE) tomorrow at 6:00pm.
May 23, 2023
After almost 6 years, out with a whimper?
The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) will hold a full council meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at 6:00pm, in Conference Room A, at the Administrative Building, One Capitol Hill, in Providence.
We have no information about this other than what was provided in the written MEETING NOTICE, which states that the meeting will be scheduled for "discussion and action" on the Raso application, file # 2017-12-06. At this point into the process, what this precisely means is anybody's guess.....
If you're able, we encourage you to attend this meeting in person. While public comment will not be allowed, your presence will send a strong signal.
If you can't attend in person, the meeting can also be accessed via ZOOM:
(Webinar ID: 851 4397 1644; Passcode: 442091)
It is our (personal) opinion and expectation that the "full" Council (now numbering only 5 (?) people) will review the CRMC staffs' hastily 'modified' proposal (unvetted by the public) and then, likely vote to approve the plan, perhaps citing their extensive solicitation of public input throughout the process and maybe even noting the applicant's admirable willingness to compromise.....
Alternatively, it's possible that the "modified" proposal will be rejected, though that seems unlikely given the procedural sleights of hand shown during the Council's previous meeting, where they sidestepped their most basic duty (to discuss the sub-committee's negative recommendation of the Raso proposal), instead proposing their own "modification" of the proposal... Those moves, and the speedy turnaround on this new proposal, suggests that a state sponsored, state funded, state approved 'compromise' plan may soon be splashing down in Segar Cove...
We hope not.
Tune in, or be there, on June 13th at 6pm......
Feb. 4 2023
A terrific write-up on recent Segar Cove developments by the persistently perspicacious Fish Wrap Writer Todd Corayer from his most recent blog post can be found HERE. (His story also appeared in the Feb. 3 print edition of the Narragansett Times.) Todd is a longtime advocate for the public use of the public water, whose writing is always illuminating, often inspiring, and well worth reading.
January 25, 2023
"What's going on at the CRMC?"
In a meeting whose purpose was to receive and deliberate on their own sub-committee's recommendation to reject the Raso proposal for a new aquaculture farm in Segar Cove/Potter Pond, consideration of that recommendation was never brought up for discussion! No "Yay" or "Nay" vote was ever taken on the subcommittee's report. Instead, after much opaque procedural tap dancing, the Council requested a new report, to be prepared by CRMC staff, on a hypothetical farm 39% smaller than the one submitted (about 2 acres) using submerged gear for cultivation, effectively an entirely new proposal!
The January 24th full Council CRMC meeting began well enough with the Council (rightly) rejecting a last minute request from the applicant that they consider "new evidence," -- a slimmed down 2 acre farm using only submerged gear. One Council member characterized this last minute "evidence" as "too late" and a "Hail Mary." By a split vote, the motion to introduce this "new evidence" was not allowed. (But the damage was done, as the applicant’s last minute request essentially telegraphed to the Council that a 2 acre farm would be acceptable to him, at least more acceptable than an outright rejection per the subcommittee's recommendation.)
Next, at the suggestion of one of the members (and contrary to the facts in the
record and conclusions of law previously established), the Council voted to request a new report and analysis from CRMC staff on a modified plan, a hypothetical 2 acre farm using only sunken gear, the same size and type of farm plan that the Council had just refused to take into the record as "new evidence." Huh?
To make matters worse, as noted by Council member Hall, the CRMC itself will be bearing the costs of designing this new plan, including layout and site location, as well analysis of the hypothetical farm's potential impacts on safety, environment, etc, etc., not to mention conflicts with existing and historical uses of that water. These are all obligations which properly belong to the applicant! By law and regulation, it is incumbent on him to show that his proposal does not adversely impact the environment, impinge on any historical site, present undue conflict or intrusion on recreational uses, etc, etc. So why is the state now offering to do this work for him?
(Of significant note: two members of the Council with professional experience in environmental law, DEM’s Ron Gagnon and former DEM attorney Catherine Hall, strongly objected to the referral to staff and questioned how it could be done under the CRMC’s statute and regulations. These objections were ignored....)
After a nearly five-year process of review and evaluation of a 3 acre farm, with hours and hours of public hearings, expert and lay testimony, cancelled meetings, rescheduled meetings, etc., etc., one would hope that the CRMC would finally evaluate the sub committee's recommendation (negative) and make a determination, yay or nay, on the merits of the case. Seems simple, no? Regrettably, that did not happen. Instead the Council, on its own initiative, requested another report, to be prepared in-house, for a farm that was not proposed, was not evaluated, and was not presented to any of the official bodies (the Council, the RI DEM, the SK Waterfront Commission, the SK Conservation Commission, the RI Marine Fisheries Council, the RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission) nor to the PUBLIC, for input, review and consideration.
This rather disturbing development leads many to believe that the CRMC is actually laying the groundwork for a "Yay" vote at some later date on a slimmed down version of the previously rejected initial plan.
The perception (if not the reality) that the CRMC is working on behalf of the aquaculture industry, designing and approving aquaculture leases in contested areas, certainly erodes the public's trust in the process and the institution, giving rise to serious questions about the CRMC's independence, expertise, and operational modus operandi.
Similar questions came to light recently in regard to the Champlain's Marina case on Block Island. We had hoped that that fiasco had chastened the CRMC and reminded them of their mandate to preserve and protect Rhode Island's marine resources in trust on behalf of all the people, not just those seeking to extract profit from the resource. It seems, for the moment anyway, that those hopes may have been misplaced......
Stay tuned for further updates.....
January 19, 2023
The January 24th meeting of the full CRMC council meeting to decide on the expansion of aquaculture in Potter Pond will be accessible via ZOOM.
Click HERE to get the link to attend the meeting remotely, beginning at 6:00pm (EST),on Tuesday, January 24th, 2023.
We are urging all our supporters to attend this crucial meeting, in person if possible, or remotely via the above link. Council members will see and be aware of all who attend remotely, so please click in at 6:00pm on Tuesday and show your continued support for rejection of the misbegotten expansion proposal.
January 4, 2023
Almost 10 months since their last notice (and cancellation) of a meeting, the CRMC has finally scheduled a meeting of the full CRMC Council to decide on the Raso application for increased aquaculture acreage in Segar's Cove, Potter Pond, Matunuck.
The meeting is scheduled to take place on:
Tuesday, January 24th, 2023, at 6:00pm
conference room A, One Capital Hill, Providence.
(Additional details in the CRMC announcement below)
We expect this meeting to be decisive, with the Council either following the recommendation of their own sub-committee to reject the ill-sited Raso proposal, or, conversely, approving the proposal and allowing the farm to begin operations.
At present we do not expect that remote attendance (via Zoom) will be possible for this meeting. We will be advocating for remote attendance, but there's no guarantee we will be successful. If you would like this meeting to be Zoom-able, please let the folks at CRMC know!
Many of our group may be unable to attend this meeting (including this writer!), but if you're in Rhode Island and can make the trip to Providence, we urge you to attend. Put it on your calendar!
Additional information (if it becomes available) will be posted to the savepotterpond.org website and/or we will send out another email to our group of supporters.
(You may recall that a previously scheduled meeting was cancelled at the last minute, leaving some of our supporters stranded en route, so please check the savepotterpond.org website for any last minute information. If we hear anything, we'll post it!)
Stay tuned for further details....
[From the CRMC announcement:]
State of Rhode Island
Coastal Resources Management Council
Oliver H. Stedman Government Center 4808 Tower Hill Road, Suite 116 Wakefield, RI 02879-1900
Potter Pond South Kingstown Oyster Farm
(401) 783-3370 Fax (401) 783-3767
January 10, 2023
Site Address: Site Town: Proj. Desc:
The matter of PERRY RASO CRMC File Number 2017-12-086, will be brought before the Full Council for their review at the next meeting of the Coastal Resources Management Council. This matter is to conduct a hearing on the recommendation of the Subcommittee for the Matter CRMC File No. 2017-12-086 — Perry Raso. In accordance with CRMC’s Management Procedures 650 RICR 10-00-01 new evidence may be allowed which was not readily available at the time of the subcommittee’s hearings.
If you are the applicant, it is necessary that you be present at the meeting to answer any questions that may arise. Interested parties may attend in accordance with CRMC rules. Parties interested in this matter are encouraged to review the latest information contained in this file and also should refer to CRMC’s Management Procedures 650 RICR 10-00-01 among others for additional information.
The meeting is to be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 in the Administration Building, Conference Room A, One Capitol Hill, Providence, RI.
Please confirm application’s hearing status via CRMC website (www.crmc.ri.gov) or by calling 401-783-3370.
Parties interested in/or concerned with the above mentioned matter are invited to be present and/or represented by counsel at the above mentioned time and place. This meeting place is accessible to individuals with disabilities. The meeting location is accessible to handicapped persons. Any individual requiring a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this meeting should contact CRMC offices at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.
Lisa A. Turner
Lisa A. Turner, Office Manager
/lat Coastal Resources Management Council
April 26, 2022, 11:00am
We've just heard that tonight's CRMC council meeting has been CANCELLED.
A new date for the meeting has not been announced.
We've been told the cancellation may be related to an illness of one or two of the council members, and, because the legislature hasn't approved new members, the CRMC has difficulty getting a quorum when one or more of the current members fall sick, as is apparently the case today.
So, stay tuned for further updates. An email will be sent to our full list when a new date has been announced.
April 26, 2022
The full CRMC is meeting today (Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at 6:00 pm, Administration Building, Conference Room A, One Capitol Hill, Providence) to review the Segar Cove farm proposal. The Council will formally receive the subcommittee's negative recommendation, deliberate and decide whether to officially approve or reject this misguided proposal. Yes, it's nail biting time....!!
The meeting is NOT accessible via Zoom.
If you're local, and it's possible for you to attend the meeting, please do so. You will not have the chance to speak, but Council members will certainly take note of your presence and be reminded of the significant and demonstrated public opposition to this project. Those who can't attend (like myself, out of state for a niece's wedding!) can get a recap of the results by clicking HERE (the "Latest News" page on the savepotterpond.org website. ) Updates will be posted immediately after the meeting.
The opposition (our side :)) is well prepared for this meeting. Legal counsel(s) for several homeowners will be present and prepared to parry any effort to present "new" evidence, press the case for rejection, and remind the council of their statutory obligation to reject any proposal that so significantly conflicts with the public use of the water. We are cautiously optimistic that the Council will agree with us and the subcommittee (and the SK Town Council, the RI Marine Fisheries Council, the Waterfront Advisory Committee, the RI Salt Water Anglers Association, etc., etc...) and REJECT this proposal. It is possible, however, that the Council will approve it, in which case the saga will likely continue, through an appeals process, further meetings, delays, etc. Let's hope not. In any case, we'll find out tonight...
With thanks to all of you who have written letters, called legislators, attended Zoom meetings, and given testimony and time over this long multi-year process. Your support has been invaluable. Today we stand a better than even chance of winning this fight, which is a victory in and of itself given the strong odds against us in January of 2018! This would not have been possible without your ongoing dedication and support. Win or lose, you have done yourselves, and Potter Pond, proud.
March 22, 2022
A new date has been set for the full CRMC council to consider (and decide?) the Segar Cove farm proposal. Here are the details:
Tuesday, April 26, 2022, 6:00pm
in the Administration Building, Conf. Room A
One Capitol Hill, Providence
Unless there's a fresh pandemic surge, this meeting will likely NOT be accessible via Zoom, nor will any public testimony be taken. (We are working to get the meeting accessible remotely. We will post about any changes.)
After more than 4 years of waiting, meeting, Zooming, rescheduling, and rescheduling again (!) this meeting is at risk of anticlimax, as many have been lulled into a kind of 'is this still going on? ' stupor. But for supporters of savepotterpond.org, this meeting will be crucial, perhaps decisive. Why? Because the full CRMC council will review the sub committee's negative recommendation and then make its final decision!
So, if there's any way you can attend on April 26th, please do so! The more folks that turn up the better! Let the Council know that we're still watching. Bring your friends and family. Bring a date. Bring your bowling league! :) While you will not be able to speak, your presence will send a strong message to the Council, keeping on the public pressure to reject (finally!) the ill conceived Segar Cove farm proposal.
(LINK to CRMC announcement.)
February 16, 2022
We've just learned that the CRMC full council meeting scheduled for Tues., Feb. 22 has been "continued," which is to say POSTPONED. No reason was given for the move, nor was a date announced for the rescheduled meeting.
As soon as details are available about the next meeting they'll be posted here.
February 2, 2022
The all important full CRMC Council meeting to consider the Raso proposal for Segar Cove in Potter Pond has been postponed (on account of "medical" reasons).
Originally scheduled for Tues., Feb. 8th, the NEW DATE for the meeting is
Tuesday February 22, at 6:00pm.
Location is to be determined, as are any Zoom details, links, etc. An update will be posted as soon as additional details are known.
January 27, 2022
Mark your calendar. A date has been set for the full CRMC council to consider the Segar Cove/Potter Pond aquaculture proposal:
Tuesday, February 8th, 2022, 6:00 pm, via Zoom.
(Webinar ID: 826 4400 3486 Passcode: 110960)
After nearly four years of preliminaries, the CRMC has finally scheduled the MAIN EVENT. The full CRMC Council will meet to consider (and decide?) the Raso application for Segar Cove/Potter Pond.
Specific details on what will happen on Feb . 8th are thin at present. We don't yet know whether the public will be able to participate (we doubt it), but we do know they will be able to attend (remotely). So, put the date in your calendar!
WE ARE ENCOURAGING (in the strongest possible terms) ALL MEMBERS OF OUR GROUP TO CLICK INTO THAT MEETING (FEB 8th at 6:00pm.) The CRMC Council members will be keenly aware of the (remote) public turnout, so it's crucial that those opposed to the proposal show up in force. Years of public support and pressure have put the momentum on our side, especially given the sub-committee's recent vote to reject the proposal. But it's not over yet! The sub-committee vote is non-binding, and the full Council may yet decide to approve the proposal! Now is the time to keep up the pressure!
When the rubber meets the road....
FEB. 8th at 6:00pm via Zoom ( LINK)
Show up (remotely).
Be counted (remotely).
Make a difference and Save Segar Cove (IRL :))
(Here's a LINK to the CRMC announcement, which gives additional details.)
January 14, 2022
Another year passes, and we're still waiting for a decision on the Segar Cove oyster proposal. The full CRMC council has yet to calendar a date to meet, discuss, and decide the matter. When they do, we will share those details immediately.
In the meantime, there are a few related developments...
The Special Commission appointed by the legislature to study general reform of the CRMC will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday, January 19th, at 3:00 pm, at the Statehouse in Providence. The public may TESTIFY at the meeting (either in person, by phone, or by writing in) but they must register first. All of the specific details can be found HERE. Many savepotterpond.org supporters have already lent their names to a Concerned Citizens letter that was read into the record the Commission's recent meeting (thank you!). This upcoming PUBLIC meeting is an opportunity for all interested parties to speak their minds. All are encouraged to participate.
Also of note, for those in Matunuck:
The CRMC recently sent out the Public Notice for a 12 unit subdivision being proposed on Piping Plover Drive (next to Holden Road) in Matunuck. This proposal has generated significant local controversy since last summer. Public comments, pro and con, are due by FEBRUARY 11th. All the specific (and important) details can be found HERE. We encourage anybody concerned with development in Matunuck to write in and express themselves...
A new group is forming to advocate for the reform of the CRMC's aquaculture permitting process. The Rhode Island Coastal Advocacy Coalition (RICAC), is a state-wide organization working to ensure that poorly sited farming operations do not impede the public's constitutional rights to use and enjoy all of the state's inshore waters. RICAC's website, ricoastalcoalition.org, should be live by sometime next week. We encourage all members of the savepotterpond community to check it out, sign up, and lend their support as RICAC builds a constituency for reform.
November 11, 2021
Press coverage of the Nov. 10th subcommittee vote to reject the Segar Cove oyster expansion proposal was robust. The Boston Globe story is HERE, the Providence Journal story HERE, and the EcoRI story HERE.
November 10, 2021
The CRMC subcommittee considering the Segar Cove oyster expansion proposal met last night (in person) on Capital Hill in Providence. The meeting went as expected, with brief discussion, followed by a unanimous vote to approve the subcommittee's previous vote against the proposal, and formally forwarding that recommendation to the full CRMC Council for their consideration. The details and logic of the subcommittee's findings are spelled out in detail in this Decision document, which was also approved for forwarding to the full CRMC.
At this point we do not yet know when the full CRMC will consider the proposal. When they do it will be at a public meeting, which we will be encouraging ALL SUPPORTERS of savepotterpond.org to attend in person (if at all possible.)
Stay tuned here for any updates. When a meeting of the full CRMC is put on the calendar savepotterpond.org will post the details here, as well as emailing all of our supporters with the specifics.
Oct. 25, 2021
CRMC has rescheduled the subcommittee's Oct. 26th meeting. The NEW DATE is November 9th. Additional details will be posted here when available.
October 11, 2021
The subcommittee Workshop considering the Segar Cove oyster proposal has scheduled their next (in person!) meeting. Here are the details:
Tuesday, October 26th at 5:00 p.m. in Conf Room A, Administration Building, One Capitol Hill, in Providence.
We expect a pro-forma meeting wherein the subcommittee approves its recent negative vote regarding the Segar Cove proposal, and moves to forward that recommendation to the full CRMC council. We do not expect any substantive discussions.
The public is welcome to attend this meeting, but since the subcommittee has already voted to disapprove, we do not feel that attendance is essential . At a later date, when the full CRMC council meets to make its decision, we will encourage ALL to attend...
September 10, 2021
We are still awaiting developments at the CRMC re. the Segar Cove oyster proposal...
Meanwhile, here's an excellent story from the Public's Radio's Sofie Rudin on the CRMC and recent developments in the Champlain's Marina (Block Island) saga....Link is HERE
August 25, 2021
A couple of items that may be of interest: From EcoRI News, a special Commission has been established by the RI House to study the working and operations of the CRMC. Find that HERE. Also, the Rhode Island Salt Water Anglers Association (RISAA) pens an urgent letter to the governor with concerns about the CRMC. Find that HERE.
August 8, 2021
The Providence Journal had an interesting article about the organized resistance to new aquaculture in Tiverton, a story which has many echoes of the Segar Cove saga. Read that article HERE.
July 25, 2021
There is no real news to report on the Segar Cove oyster farm proposal, other than the behind the scenes development that the Chair of the CRMC, Jennifer Cervenka, recently resigned her position. While she gave no reason for the resignation, we understand that she may be following former Gov. Raimondo to bigger and better opportunities in Washington, DC. (Details on her resignation can be found HERE.)
What this means for the Segar Cove farm proposal is uncertain, but it's a fairly safe bet that this development will not speed up the process!
Technically, the aquaculture subcommittee, which recently voted unanimously to reject the proposal, still needs to 'write up' their (non-binding) recommendation and forward it to the full CRMC, who will then make the final decision, yay or nay, on the proposal. The schedule for those actions is now more uncertain than ever. When there are any conclusive developments, we'll be sure and post them here.
We hope that everybody is enjoying another summer of farm-free Segar Cove!
May 27, 2021
The meeting scheduled for Friday, May 28th, has been postponed for one week. We now anticipate that the meeting will happen on Friday, June 4th, beginning at 10:00am. Once that meeting is confirmed, a link will be posted here (and on the links page).
We understand that this delay is a result of CRMC's obligations to review and consult on the just approved offshore wind farm. When the sub-committee does again take up the Segar Cove proposal, we anticipate that they will formally approve their own (negative) recommendation, which they'll then forward to the full CRMC committee.
May 25, 2021
The CRMC sub-committee considering the Segar Cove oyster proposal will have a (Zoom) meeting this coming Friday, May 28th, at 10:00 am.
To join that meeting click HERE.
We have been told that this is a pro forma meeting wherein the sub-committee will review their (negative) recommendation and approve its forwarding to the full CRMC council. We do not anticipate any other actions at this meeting. If that turns out not to be the case we will certainly let you know.
March 10, 2021
Tuesday, March 8th, 2021, was a great day for everybody opposed to the expansion of aquaculture in Segar Cove/Potter Pond.
The CRMC sub-committee considering the matter held its final public ‘workshop’ to deliberate and decide on their recommendation to the full CRMC council. After years of waiting, months of Zoom meetings, hours and hours of public testimony, the sub-committee voted 5-0 to oppose the expansion proposal, dealing a potentially “fatal” blow to the proposed farm in Segar Cove.
While this recommendation is non-binding, and the decision making process is not yet fully complete, it will be difficult for the full CRMC council to disregard this carefully considered recommendation, increasing the likelihood that Segar Cove will remain farm-free, available for ALL public uses, now and into the future.
The sub-committee’s deliberations made clear that the public testimony was crucial to their understanding of the issues involved (conflict with existing public uses, safety, etc.) and instrumental in their decision to oppose. In this instance, and for the time being, the power of the public voice has been heard and heeded. We’re are grateful to all of the members of the public who participated in this process. Give yourselves a round of applause!
We are equally appreciative to the CRMC sub-committee, who took great care in considering this issue, showing patience and professionalism in evaluating the testimony from the applicant, the intervenors, and members of the public. We tip our caps to each and every member of the sub-committee and thank them for many hours of dedicated work on this application.
What’s next? The sub-committee will write up its recommendation and forward it to the full CRMC council, who will make a decision at one of their upcoming meetings, probably sometime in April. In the interim, the applicant may try to introduce “new” evidence to support a reconsideration of the application, which, if allowed, could send the proposal back to the sub-committee for further review. We would oppose such a motion. Should the full CRMC council decide not to allow the farm, the applicant could appeal that decision, too, but given the now long history of votes against this proposal (SK Town Council, Fisheries, CRMC sub-committee, etc.), in addition to the now well documented public opposition, one has to wonder how long the applicant will be willing to swim against the tide.
Whatever happens next, we'll keep a close eye on all of the developments and update you with any significant news.
We’ve won a significant battle in our fight to keep the waters of Segar Cove free and open for all to use. Today, at least, we can celebrate! Huzzah!
Link to story on this from Providence Business News:
Feb. 21, 2021
The final public "workshop" meeting for the Segar Cove oyster expansion proposal will be held on Monday, March 8, from 10:00am - 1:00pm. Join the Zoom meeting HERE.
No public comments will taken at that meeting. The sub-committee will deliberate and decide on their (non-binding) recommendation, which they'll forward to the full CRMC council, who will decide on the matter at a later date.
Speaking of the CRMC, they continue to make news. Check out the most recent EcoRI News story by Frank Carini ("Expired Terms and Illegal Appointments Cast Doubt Over Rhode Island's Powerful Coastal Council") HERE.
Feb. 16, 2021
The CRMC has been in the news recently for a surprise decision on a long running (and much litigated) proposal to expand Champlin's marina on Block Island. Recent articles detailing the history of that proposal, the mechanics of how the most recent decision was reached, plus the RI Attorney General's intervention in the case (along with background and context on the CRMC's history, administrative structure, etc.) can be found HERE, HERE and HERE. We encourage everybody to read these stories as they shed significant light on our struggle to ensure that the Potter Pond / Segar Cove stakeholders voices are heard and properly considered.
Feb. 9, 2021
The meeting scheduled for Feb. 10 has been postponed. When CRMC announces a new date it will be posted here.
Post hearing legal briefs, memoranda of law, exhibits, testimony, can be found HERE
February 8, 2021
The final public meeting for the Segar Cove oyster expansion proposal will be held this coming Wednesday, Feb. 10, from 10:00am to 2:00pm. (See homepage for link.)
The meeting is a "public workshop," wherein the members of the sub-committee will discuss, deliberate and decide on their recommendation for the Segar Cove oyster/scallop proposal. (The sub-committee makes a non-binding recommendation to the full CRMC council, who will decide the matter at a later date.)
Members of the public can view these "workshop" deliberations, but will not be able to participate.
Anybody interested in a deeper dive into the legal documents recently filed by the interveners and the applicant (memorandums of law, statements of fact, exhibits, etc.), can find links to that material on the CRMC home page, HERE.
Following Wednesday's meeting, savepotterpond.org will continue to monitor this process and will update members of our mailing list on any important developments. (Join the mailing list!:)
Thanks to the many members of this group, and those members of the public, who took the time and trouble to write in, to speak, and to participate in this lengthy public (Zoom) meeting process.
January 14, 2021
The CRMC has announced dates for the final public comments meeting, as well as a follow-up 'public workshop' during which the sub-committee will discuss and deliberate on the Raso oyster expansion proposal for Segar Cove.
Final public comments will be on Friday, January 29th, 10:00am to 1:pm. Click HERE for a direct link to the Zoom meeting. (Webinar ID: 867 9463 7780 Passcode: 717828)
The 'workshop' will take place on Wednesday, February 10th, 10:00am to 1:00pm. Click HERE for a direct link to the Zoom meeting. (Webinar ID: 893 2649 2233 Passcode: 463125)
Those of you who were scheduled to speak at an earlier meeting, but, for whatever reason could not attend, should send an email to Raso27112086@crmc.ri.gov, explaining your situation and asking if you can be given a speaking slot during the Jan. 29th meeting.
The finish line is in sight for this portion of our fight to keep Segar Cove farm-free. Previous public comment meetings have been inspirational, demonstrating the public's deep commitment to preserving the recreational and scenic character of Segar Cove. Please try and tune in on Jan. 29th and Feb. 10th. Your (online) presence will remind the CRMC that public stakeholders are concerned, engaged, and keeping a close eye on the proceedings.
If you need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this meeting, contact CRMC offices at 401-783-3370 at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.
CRMC YouTube channel with videos of previous meetings is HERE.
Dec. 11, 2020
Public Comments will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 10:00am-1:00pm and likely continue at the following meeting Wed., Dec. 30, also 10:00am-1:00pm. Click HERE for a direct link to both (Zoom) meetings. Passcode, if needed, is 216780
Speakers will go in the order of their registration. Each speaker will be given between 3 to 10 minutes to speak.
The list, and order, of registered speakers can be found HERE.
Dec. 3, 2020
In addition to the meeting tomorrow, Dec. 4 (11:00am to 5:30pm, Link HERE), two additional meetings to consider the Raso Segar Cove proposal have been added to the schedule:
Wed., Dec. 16th. AND Wed., Dec. 30th, 10:00am-1:00pm
Join both meetings HERE.
No details are available yet on when the Public Comment period will be. If you would like to speak, but have not signed up, please email Raso27112086@crmc.ri.gov and firstname.lastname@example.org and ask that you be given a speaking slot.
Tomorrow's meeting will continue with the presentation of the opposition's case. Our best guess is that the Public Comment meeting will fall on either the 16th or 30th (or even later?).
Thanks for your support.
Nov. 21, 2020
The next (Zoom) meeting for the Segar Cove oyster expansion proposal will be held Dec. 4, 2020, 11:00am - 5:30pm. Here's the LINK . (The opposition's case continues...)
The public comment meeting is still unscheduled, but will be held "sometime in December." Sign-up for speaking slots is currently closed (!) Only those previously registered will be allowed to speak. If you are not pre-registered, but would still like to speak, we encourage you to email Raso27112086@crmc.ri.gov and ask for a speaking slot and that the registration period be re-opened. You can copy your email to any or all of the CRMC folks listed below.
All voices should be heard at this important meeting!
Videos of the Dec. Nov. 12, 13 and 17 meetings HERE
CRMC's public notice of Dec. 4 meeting HERE
CRMC's statement on public comments meeting: HERE
Jeffrey Willis, Executive Director, CRMC email@example.com,
Ben Goetsch, Aquaculture Coordinator, CRMC firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Turner, administrative staff email@example.com
CRMC general phone: 401-783-3370
Take CRMC's Customer Satisfaction Survey: HERE
Nov. 18th, 2020
The next Zoom meeting will be on Dec. 4th, which will finish with the presentations and witness testimony from opponents of the project. Once a link is provided by CRMC, I'll post it here and on the link button on the homepage.
It's likely that the Public Comment will be at a meeting sometime after Dec. 4, on a date/time yet to be determined. Once available, all details will be posted here.
We have asked the CRMC to re-open the registration for speaking slots at that meeting, as the schedule change will no doubt have an impact of people's availability to speak, etc. Stay tuned for details on this.
Nov. 15, 2020:
The PUBLIC COMMENT hearing date for the Segar Cove oyster expansion has been moved, again, to a date not yet specified. Public comment is NO LONGER being taken at the Tues., Nov. 17. public meeting.
When a date for public comment is announced, we will post all the details, plus links to the Zoom meeting.
If you have not registered to speak, you're out of luck. Only those who signed up via email or the Zoom chat window will be allowed to speak. You can still watch any meeting you like.
The Nov. 17th meeting, which begins at 1 pm (LINK), will finish with applicant expert witness cross-examination, then move to the presentation of the opposition case, including expert and other witnesses.
Nov. 13, 2020
Zoom meetings for the Segar Cove oyster proposal are proceeding at a more leisurely pace than expected. The PUBLIC COMMENT portion has been MOVED. Now it's happening on Nov. 17th, beginning at 1:00 pm (EDT).
If you would like to comment, or if you have already registered to speak, that's the meeting to attend.
(Today's meeting (Nov. 13) will continue with testimony from experts on both sides, plus statements, exhibits, etc. from those opposed to the project. That's us.:)
We hope you can be there to show your support for the pond.
Here's a link for the Tues., Nov. 17th Public Comment meeting:
And a link for today's (Nov. 13) meeting, in case you want watch:
Nov. 8, 2020
The document below gives a schedule for the three public Zoom meetings which will determine the fate of the Segar Cove oyster expansion proposal. Please read this carefully, as it gives specific details on how to participate, how to register to speak, how to submit written materials, etc.
The easiest way to register to speak is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and request a spot. They'll put you on a list to speak during the second meeting, Nov. 13th, beginning at 1:00pm.
Or you can register to speak by using the chat feature during the opening minutes of the first (Nov. 12th) Zoom call. They'll put you on a list for Nov. 13th (as above).
Any additional written comments or materials should be emailed to: email@example.com.
All public comments will be taken during the second, Nov. 13th, meeting, starting at 1:00pm. You must pre-register to speak. Otherwise, all portions of all meetings will be available for viewing only via Zoom links provided.
The first meeting is NEXT THURSDAY. Please spread the word to all your friends and family. A robust public turnout for these meetings is our best chance to stop the expansion of oyster farms in Potter Pond. Let the CRMC know how you feel and help keep the waters of Segar Cove free and open to all!
April 5, 2020
Public Meeting date not yet set
The public meeting to consider the Segar Cove oyster farm proposal has not yet been set. CRMC’s schedule for all meetings is now necessarily uncertain in the face of the CV pandemic. When a firm date is selected, all members of the Save Potter Pond (SPP) mailing list will be notified immediately with all details. Please stay tuned…
January 14, 2020
Public Meeting Coming Soon:
We have heard from the CRMC that the public meeting to decide (for or against) the Segar Cove oyster farm proposal will be sometime between February and March of 2020. We don't yet have a specific date, but at least we have a possible window. Also, we expect that the meeting will be held somewhere in Providence, to better facilitate the attendance of the public and CRMC Council members. We may not get lots of advanced warning about the meeting date, so we're preparing now. You should be, too.
We believe that a strong public showing at that meeting gives us our best chance to defeat this proposal. A good turnout of citizens testifying to the conflict the proposed farm will create with existing and historical public uses of Segar Cove (skiing, tubing, paddleboarding, sailing, clamming, fishing, etc.) will help the members of the full CRMC committee see that an additional 3 acres of floating oyster cages (plus work barges, service boats, etc.) is incompatible with the continued pubic use and enjoyment of Segar Cove.
The meeting will offer members of the public the opportunity to give testimony about the proposed farm. Those who wrote in during the public comment period will be given the chance to speak and air their views. Additionally, the committee will take testimony from the legal team representing three abutting property owners, as well as from the engineering firm they retained to analyze the proposal. The applicant will also have the chance to present his side of the story. Afterwards, the full CRMC committee will decide, yay or nay, on the proposal.
New marker buoys placed on site
FYI, in case you're been on Segar Cove and have been wondering....a new set of orange buoys has been placed at the approximate location of the proposed new oyster farm. These floats are there per CRMC regulations marking the proposed site of an application that is still pending before the council.
The location and siting of the new buoys is approximate, at best. (Very little care was taken in their placement.) The actual dimensions of the submitted proposal may vary widely from the area demarcated by the current buoys. The pending proposal has not changed, nor has the location or acreage of the proposed farm, only the siting of the buoys. (I believe that last year's buoys more accurately represent the actual size and location of farm.)
We will keep you updated on any developments and/or changes to the application.
June 2019 Update: Still Waiting
Summer is here, finally! The weather is getting nice, the water is warming up, clammers are tuning up their rakes, and cinder worms are hatching bringing striped bass and plenty of fishermen into the pond. Best of all, Segar Cove remains free and open to the public, with no oyster farm to be seen. Even the orange buoys marking the proposed site are absent. :)
It's been over a year since the application for a new oyster farm on Segar Cove was filed and CRMC has not yet selected a date for the public meeting to review and decide the issue. Our current understanding, based on information from people close to the process, is that it may be months, at least, or even many months before a date is eventually picked, as a good deal of work remains to be done to prepare the Segar Cove application for public presentation, all while CRMC is busy dealing with the many issues related to the new offshore wind farms. So, while those wheels turn (wind blades spin?), we continue to wait....
Float-In Press Coverage
The Friday, Aug. 10, edition of the Narragansett Times had some great coverage of the July 28, 2018 Segar Cove Float-In. Written by the "Fish Wrap Writer," Todd Corayer, the story clearly and succinctly captures the issues at stake in our fight to keep Segar Cove farm-free. Plus, there's a great photo of the event! Click HERE to read the full story.
If you're interested in fish and fishing, I highly recommend Todd's blog, which is always chock-a-block full of useful and fascinating information: fishwrapwriter.com/
CRMC Meeting Date....October? November?
July 1, 2018: We've heard from the CRMC that the public meeting to consider and decide on the proposed Segar Cove oyster lease will not happen until at least mid-October, at the earliest. This is disappointing as it will certainly discourage a robust pubic showing at that important meeting, and risks disenfranchising seasonal and out of town users and stakeholders. When we get any more information about a possible specific date we'll pass that along promptly.
Rhode Island Monthly Magazine swings and...misses
The June 2018 Rhode Island Monthly Magazine ran a story, "Wade In the Water," written by Ellen Liberman, covering the proposed farm on Segar Cove. While we applaud coverage of this issue from any quarter, we take exception to the generally pro-industry bias demonstrated in this article. From the beginning, with covering illustration depicting unruly (and clueless?) water skiers disrupting the cheerful work of a group of aquaculturists, to the very end, where the applicant is given the final word, the article shows a lamentable (and yet predictable?) skew towards industry, giving very short shrift to the general community sentiment and mischaracterizing public objections to the infringement of public use rights as simple "nimby"ism. This misreads both the arguments being made (public use), and the people making the arguments (most are NOT waterfront property owners.)
A link to the article online could not be found, but you can read a copy HERE.
Hanging Chads Dept.:
The RI Marine Fisheries Council met on Wed., March 13, 2018, to consider the proposed Potter Pond lease. Comments were heard and considered from the applicant, individual Council members and members of the public, after which time the Council voted. The results were stunning: A SPLIT DECISION, with 3 votes opposed, and 3 votes in favor, which is to say the Council voted to make NO recommendation to the CRMC.
As a practical matter, the impact of this vote is hard to quantify, but we here at savepotterpond.org consider this a clear victory for the opposition, as the expectation was for a vote in favor, and the split nature of the outcome is yet further indication of the community's strong feelings on this topic. The Council's conflicted vote mirrors the conflict the lease itself is presenting to other public uses of Segar Cove. The symmetry is hard to ignore.
Many thanks to all who took the time and trouble to attend the meeting and thanks, also, to the RI Marine Fisheries Council for its thoughtful deliberations and professional conduct of the meeting.
See the RIMFC's letter to the CRMC here.